Santa Clara, CA: Walmart is facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over allegations its craft beer is mass manufactured, and is falsely marketed at an inflated price.
Filed by Matthew Adam of Ohio, the suit claims four brands of beer sold by defendant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, are falsely labeled as craft beers. The suit states that the beer is mass-produced at industrial-scale breweries that don’t even resemble what a reasonable consumer would consider a craft brewer.
“Defendant’s Craft Beer has never been a ‘craft beer,’ nor has it been produced by a craft brewery,” Adam claims. “Rather, it is a wholesale fiction created by the Defendant that was designed to deceive consumers into purchasing the Craft Beer at a higher, inflated price.”
According to the complaint, Walmart has been marketing this line of beer since 2016, which includes Cat’s Away IPA, After Party Pale Ale, ‘Round Midnight Belgian White, and Red Flag Amber. Walmart currently stocks these beers at 3,000 retail locations in 45 states, the suit states.
Further, while Walmart allegedly claims its craft beers are brewed by a company called Trouble Brewing, the Treasury Department lists a company called WX Brands, with the same brewery address as the offices of Genesee Brewing in Rochester, NY. Genesee does not meet the definition of a “craft brewer” put out by the Brewers Association, a trade organization that promotes and protects American craft brewers, the complaint states.
The suit contends that consumers are willing to pay more for beer marketed as craft beer, on the assumption that craft beer is of a higher quality than other beers. Adam claims Walmart craft beer is purposely marketed to exploit that higher dollar value associated with craft beer, when it is, in fact, mass produced.
According to the suit, Adam purchased a 12-pack of Trouble Brewing beer for himself from a Walmart in Sharonville, Ohio. He says he relied on Walmart’s representations that what he was buying was a genuine craft beer. However, the beer was not what he was led to expect, he claims. And he would not have paid a premium price for the beer, had he known the beer he was buying was not actually craft beer.
Adam’s proposed plaintiff Class would include all persons in the state of Ohio who purchased Walmart craft beer. Adam is represented by attorneys Brian T. Giles and Bryce Lenox of Giles Lenox.
The Walmart Craft Beer Class Action Lawsuit is Matthew Adam v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Case No. A1700827, in the Court of Common Pleas for Hamilton County, Ohio.